-the fact or practice of an increasing consumption of goods
-the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy.
Since taking the Wardrobe Refashion pledge a few years ago (paradoxically whilst working for a clothing company which produced low quality, virtually disposable fashion), the consumption of cheap readily available goods that nobody particularly needs is something that I’ve found increasingly grating. I understand that many people derive a lot of pleasure from buying things like clothes and shoes, god knows I did my fair share of excessive non-essential consuming in my teens and early twenties. But nowadays, in this media age when news travels fast from every corner of the globe, almost everyone in the developed world has some level of awareness that the production, transportation and discarding of these endlessly available cheap goods are damaging the planet AND have questionable human rights footprints.
At this point, however I’d like to say that I’m not ragging on trading as a concept. Of course it’s partly what makes us human, rather than just some type of funny-looking apes. I don’t think there is anything innately wrong with exchanging things for something else, be that other goods, services or currency. Indeed, we are all ‘consumers’ in the purist sense of the word: we all consume food and drink for example. We all require things that make it possible and more pleasurable to conduct our day to day lives. It’s not consumption as such that’s a problem, but the growing, mindless, snatching then discarding-type consumerism of products manufactured at the expense of the planet that seems to be a defining element of 21st Century Western culture. There is also the questionable morality of increasing the consumption of non-necessities (often with a nauseating sense of entitlement), particularly whilst so many of the world’s inhabitants hardly have the essentials for a healthy existence. It is these characteristics of modern consumption that I, and many others, are referring to when using the term ‘consumerism’.
This is a topic that I’ve touched upon to varying degrees during the short life of this blog, but it’s something I’m finding increasingly important to talk, listen, read and write about. Consumerism, sustainability, DIY, craft and style are of course very much interlinked, my main current preoccupation is thinking about what we can do as culture and as individuals to affect a positive change. So if it’s a subject you feel strongly about, please share your views, via a comment, a blog post, a conversation with a friend, whatever. And if it’s not something you feel strongly about, you might want to delete me from your RSS feed. Just giving you a heads up coz these are issues I'm going to be returning to from time to time.
Fear not, I’m still all about rocking smokin’ handmade garments and talking the sewing chit chat. In fact I feel that sewing and DIY have a very important role to play in this sorting out this whole mess. And looking and feeling good in homemade garments is a pretty powerful political act, in my book. Discuss....